Enjoying the Crap Out of Being Up At 4:30 AM

That's right, 'Enjoying' is the first word. While I will get into the 'how to' or 'why' I wake up like a 18th century farmer, the pleasurable aspects are the key here. Note I said 'pleasurable', not 'beneficial', because they are not one and the same and because fuck the benefits. I don't know what the benefits for waking up so goddamn early could be - and there are enough holier-than-thou assholes out there to tell you about some YMMV benefits in my stead - but I can speak to the pleasure of it. And this is about me. I'm not trying to get you to change your way of life, I'm just wanking my ego over this keyboard right now.

Oh - check that other title-word. No, not 'crap', that was for PG-rated dramatic effect. This is not about waking up at 4:30, it's about 'being' up at 4:30. Which, alas, means actually waking up earlier than that.

And, yes, let's get this joke out of the way: Have a baby, you'll be up all the time! Haha! Now go adjust your mom-jeans over your dad-bod and shut up. Or better yet read a joke book so you have something to blame for your kid's inevitably awful sense of humor. I'm not actually judging, I read a ton of joke books.

Alright, I'm done being a dick.

Here's the deal: This year, my life spiraled out of my comfort zone. And I have a comfort zone roughly the size of a middling galaxy for most things except the preparation of the food I eat. My tolerance zone is tiny, but comfort is engantic (I have a moratorium on using the word 'ginormous' because it makes my eczema weep and it just makes me think of large vaginas.)

My comfort zone basically revolves around the union of time-spent-making-money versus time-spent-using-my-imagination. This is a very simple venn diagram to picture so don't ask me to draw you one.

This year, too much time has been gone into making money. Enough time that I'm not sure I want to make money in this fashion at all any more.

So I needed more time for my imagination to lead the way. The problems are that I can't create more time and I have a ton of crap I need to get done. I also hate 'grinding'. Note: I don't mean rubbing up on people, I love that. Grinding is a popular term to describe doing something that sucks because it's to your benefit and - remember? - we're not talking about benefits here.

Here are the things I need to do for my imagination, sense of fulfillment, and enjoyment:

  • Write
  • Read
  • Train (meaning working out, not starting a conga-train or conducting a choo-choo)
  • Relax
  • Think

Here are the things I currently need to do for money:

  • Job

You can see that there are a lot more things in the first list than the second. But what you can't see, but can presume, is that the second demands a lot more of my time adhering to other's schedules.

So, around 2/3's of the way through the year, I decided to see if waking up early to get most of the important stuff done would work for me.

And it does. I enjoy it very much.

Here's why:

It's quiet.

Not even my dogs are up. In fact, they look at me like they hate me when I walk near their bed on my way to make coffee. I love quiet. I am very happy in a silent room. In a life that contains an insane amount of noise - from an office, to street noise, to music, to TV, to folks yapping at me - the quiet moments mean a lot to me. They allow me to think and relax.

There are no distractions.

This isn't the same as quiet. I make a rule to not check my email - personal or work - until I'm done with the things I need to do in the morning. I also make it a rule not to check any social media, news, or internet-anything until I'm done with what I have to do in the morning. And this is easier in the morning because most folks aren't up and producing the content that vies for my eyeballs and mindballs. Yes, I have mindballs and I play with them daily. This allows me to live inside my imagination and let it work with me to actually produce some work I can stand behind.

On the subject of balls, to paraphrase Balzac: I enjoy the empty hours of the morning because the air is less full of other people's thoughts.

I get the important stuff done for the day.

Here's the thing, your job is probably not very important. At least not to anyone but your boss. Companies are very good at making you think that your job is important and, in a given moment, it may very well be to the company you work for.

But when shit comes to roost like shit-birds do, you're likely doing something that has left no fucking impact on anyone when you look back at your life. Exceptions made for any profession where you actually save or help people, animals, or the environment.

So, I use the morning to get the important, impactful stuff done. I write. I train. I think. And, lo and behold, by the time I roll in to do the work I have to do on someone else's schedule, I have already gotten everything I actually want to accomplish for the day done and out of the way. By 9AM, I've already given the best part of my daily energy to myself, not to someone who doesn't really appreciate or require it. And I enjoy myself, very much. Touching my mindballs as you're reading this, actually.

My evenings are free.

Now, a caveat here. I go to bed early. So if you have a ton of shit to actually do at night, like say you're a musician or a bartender or something, then your mileage may vary on this. You need sleep. I need sleep. I need to read for a bit before I fall asleep as it preps my mind for the morning. Also: I’m oldish.

But, my evenings are free. I've already done what I need to do for the day. I've written, I've trained, I've thought. And now, I am free to relax. Or I can get back to writing or something else. But I can also turn on the TV or play a videogame and feel absolutely no guilt about what I should be doing to move the shit I want to move forward, forward. I can sit and have dinner with my family and not be preoccupied with making the time to get my shit done.

That's powerful. And I enjoy it tremendously.

Now as to how to progress to waking up early, maybe that's another post for another time. Or maybe not, because do you care? If you do, let me know via one of a myriad ways to get in touch with me and I'll draft up my thoughts on how to get to the point where you, too, can enjoy the morning hours like my shlubby ass does.